Football: Forest sign pounds 3m Scimeca

DAVID PLATT has persuaded Riccardo Scimeca, the Aston Villa centre- half, to become his first major signing at Nottingham Forest in a pounds 3m deal.

The former England Under-21 defender has opted to drop into the First Division even though he only recently signed a new contract at Villa and pledged his loyalty to the club.

Platt had also hoped to sign the midfielder Jermaine Wright from Crewe, but he chose to join Ipswich in a pounds 500,000 transfer. The 23-year-old midfielder, who has signed a four-year contract, will travel to Sweden tomorrow to join up with the squad. He will in part compensate for the loss of Kieron Dyer, who was sold to Newcastle for pounds 6m.

Slaven Bilic's escape from Everton back to West Ham will not happen until next week at the earliest. The likely pounds 1m deal has been put on hold until the Hammers return from their weekend Intertoto Cup game with Jokerit in Finland.

Bilic is believed to have returned to Croatia because of a family problem, so until the West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, and the player are back in England next week the move is stalled. Redknapp said: "The situation has not progressed any further as yet. We have spoken to someone who acts for Slaven, but that's as far as it goes. We are still a little way from a deal."

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